Lees-McRae College - Founded At Century's Turn

Lees-McRae College - Founded At Century's Turn

A small Presbyterian college in Banner Elk combined religious and educational goals to start off the century with a mission and a prayer. A Presbyterian preacher, Reverend Edgar Tufts, was assigned to the Banner Elk region in 1897. In the winter of 1899, Tufts took some of the young people of the neighborhood into his study for further instruction to augment his work through the church. This small group, now known as the Class of 1900, marked the beginning of Lees-McRae College, which served as a boarding school for young teenagers.

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A dormitory for girls was built that year on donations of money and lumber from the surrounding community. The school was named after teachers Elizabeth A. McRae and S.P. Lees. A boys' dormitory was constructed in nearby Plumtree. In 1907, the school was chartered by the state as Lees-McRae Institute. Lees-McRae became a coeducational facility after the boys' dorms burned in 1927 and male students were moved to the Banner Elk campus.

Lees-McRae Institute became Lees-McRae College in 1931, becoming a two-year junior college and eliminating the boarding of high school students. In June of 1990 the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools granted Lees-McRae status as a senior, four-year college with a focus on liberal arts. It's famous for its Performing Arts department and currently enrolls 624 students.

Lees-McRae College:
191 Main Street
PO Box 128, Banner Elk
North Carolina, USA 28604
Phone: 1-828-898-5241
Fax: 1-828-898-8814
Web: http://www.lmc.edu/

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